Looking for the best place to see new and historic artworks? Here’s our three favourite galleries – plus mention of one other that has some exciting things planned for 2014.
Manchester Art Gallery
This is the grand dame of Manchester’s art scene, a neo-Classical gallery that sits slap-bang in the middle of the city centre. Its monumental frontage, Grade I-listed and designed by the celebrated Victorian architect, Charles Barry, signals that serious art is contained within. And, indeed, once you step through its Corinthian-columned entrance you’re met with a historic collection that boasts some 25,000 objects, paintings and sculptures, from world-renowned Pre-Raphaelite paintings by the likes of Millais and Rossetti to works by the 17th century Dutch masters. But, while it may have an impressive collection, this is one gallery that’s not all about the old. The building was extended in 2002, with a glass-roofed atrium connecting the Victorian building to newer gallery spaces. Now, alongside historic shows, it stages regular contemporary exhibitions, with work and new commissions from some of the biggest names in visual art. Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller, for example, premiered his All That Is Solid Melts Into Air here in November 2013, while the Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos opens an exhibition of new, large-scale sculptural work in February 2014 (until June). The gallery also boasts a decent restaurant and café (with great homemade cakes), is open until 8pm every Thursday, offers hands-on activity packs and workshops for kids - and is our top tip for a calm, cultural respite from the city’s busy, traffic-clogged streets. Read More